Phil. 3:1-6 Rejoice, but be warned.

Phil. 3:1-6 Rejoice, but be warned.

Paul wasn’t shy about writing more than once, in some cases it was to fulfill the law of witness (1 cf. Dt. 19:15; II Cor. 13:1). Firstly, they were to rejoice (cf. I Th. 5:17). Secondly, there is a place for imprecation. A much respected former evangelical OT prof once said that imprecation, that one finds in the OT, is not a part of the NT. Being a Baptist, this had some logic to his repudiation of the one covenant of grace as spanning both testaments, as well as that of works that we all are guilty of the act of Adam, but he didn’t much appreciate my comments about what Paul said concerning false teachers, such as we find in this passage. He sought to warn his audience of the “dogs, evil doers, the mutilation.” (2)

Paul was making a covenantal distinction. He and his audience, the church at Philippi and us, are the true “circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.” (3) In what follows it is clear that Paul is referring to unconverted Jews, who think that being a true covenant child consists solely in outward and physical things. These are not insignificant, but mean nothing in comparison to the gospel of grace. It also concerned acts, such as Paul being chief among the persecutors of the church, and scrupulous concerning the law – blameless, at least outwardly (4-6). However, as he states elsewhere, the 10th commandment gets everybody (Rom. 7:8).

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